The Second Topic: Building Man’s Thought

Mind has an important significance in the Islamic religion. It is a source to attain the right belief, it is one of the evidences of deriving laws (i- e- “ijtihaad”) the honored prophet (S.W.A.) said: “every thing has a prop the prop of religion is mind” [^31]

From another side mind composes the prop of the faithful human being, the prophet (S.W.A.) said “he who has a mind has a religion and he who has a religion he entered paradise” [^32]

The texts of “hadeeths” which deal with drawing attention to the role of mind reached hundreds we can discover, through a general look at these texts, that the procedure of Islam in giving mind its actual role passes through two stages, it begins with releasing it then it shifts to direct its energies.

Liberating the mind: This is the first step of the mentioned Islamic procedure which we can discover through the texts that have been directed to give up the bonds which enchain mind and confine its real activity and so lead it to serious errors. This can be found in two clear examples:

The first: is giving up blind imitation: its examples in the Holy Qur’an are very much, we can read them in many verses and scenes..

While Qur’an emphasizes that they have not the smallest proof of what they believe of worshipping idols and false creeds it concentrated that all of their plea is that they have found their fathers worshipping these idols so they adhered to that… “Nay! They say: we found our fathers on a course and surely we are guided by their footsteps” [^33]

Then it emphasizes that this is the habit of this kind of people who has shut all the vents on his mind… “And thus we did not send before you any warner to a town but those who led easy life in it said: surely we found our fathers on a course and surely we are followers of their footsteps.” [^34]Thus Qur’an recounted their plea twice in two successive verses to show the disintegration it contains and the inherited rooted ignorance in which they are drowned to the limit that they do not listen to any right call nor obvious proof rather they have no more than repeating their plea “Have you come to us to turn us away from what we found our fathers upon” [^35]

Even though a challenger came to them showing that what they follow is an error (He said: what! Even if I bring to you a better guide than that on which you found your fathers?”[^36]

Even with such evocation they do not search for a proof nor do they open a vent to discussion, rather they insisted on their first fogy nature, “Surely we are unbelievers in that with which you are sent” and “They said that on which we found our fathers is sufficient for us”[^37], Qur’an repeats its condemnation of those in other positions because Qur’an confronts in its epistemic project theories that have been consolidated and taken roots wit successive nations and it is not far that there would be extended to the future of nations too.

This theory has exceeded the excellent of knowledge and beliefs to the spheres of behavior and interactions. “And when they commit an indecency they say: we found our fathers doing so” [^38]and “They say: Nay, we found our fathers doing so” [^39]

Then Qur’an states the punishment which waits those people who took this course pointing out that people must beware of such a course…” so we inflicted retribution on them, then consider how was the end of the rejectors”[^40]


After Islamic ideology has released human mind from the chains which capture it, its ends it out onwards directing its energies through drawing attention and pondering over the universe and life in order to establish a complete building religiously and for this world…

We can state some groups of the Qur’anic verses which direct the mind towards several vast horizons, some of them are as follows:

Firstly: pondering on the evidences of Allah (be exalted) in horizons and souls:

“Most surely in the creation of heavens and earth and the alternation of the night and the day there are signs for men who understand. Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: Our Lord Thou hast not created this in vain! Glory is to Thee: save us then from the chastisement of the fire” [^41]

“And in the earth there are signs for those who are sure and in your own souls too will you not then see?” [^42]

“Say look what is there in heavens and earth..”[^43]

“Let Man then think over of what he has been created” [^44]

“Let Man then look at his food” [^45]

“Will they not then consider the camels, how they are created and the heaven how it is reared aloft and the mountains how they are firmly fixed. And the earth how it is made vast expanse, therefore do remind for you are only a reminder” [^46]

What is noticeable here is Qur’an’s great attention to mention the scenes of the universe through repeating their show in more than one “Surah” i-e (chapter) in different ways and its call for the human being to ponder on and contemplate them, to mediate on the run of its happenings, the most important of that Qur’an made this universe as starting point to reach to Allah (i- e to deduce His existence and to know Him) the creator and originator.

It is narrated from the prophet (S.W.A.) that he was reciting “most surely in the creation of heavens and the earth and he alternation of the night and the day there are signs for men who understand, those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: Our Lord! Thou hast not created this in vain Glory be to Thee, save us then from the chastisement of the fire”[^47], he says “woe to him who reads it without contemplating it” and in another narration “woe to him who chewed it between his jaws without contemplating it”.

And it is related to Ameeral muamineen Ali (A.S.) that he said: “when the prophet (S.W.A.) wakes up at night he cleans his teeth then he looks at the sky then he says “most surely in the creation of heaven and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day there are signs for men who understand, those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth our Lord: Thou hast not created this in vain Glory be to Thee save us then from the chastisement of the fire” [^48]

The purified Imams (A.S.) used the way of setting the proofs of the existence of Allah through intellectual contemplation of the universe and what precise order and wonderful harmony it contains which is the proof called by scholars “the proof of order”.

Ameeral mu’amineen Ali (A.S.) said: Had they thought of the greatness of His power and the plentiness of benevolence they would have returned to the path and feared the chastisement of burning but minds are ill, hearts are disordered. Do they not see the small-created things He has created, how He had consolidated its creation, mastered its composition, opened to it hearing and sight and made to it bones and skins!

Look at the aunt in its small body, delicate form which is difficult to be seen by the eye and to be recognized by realizing mind, how it has crept on its land and stored its sustenance…if you think of the runs of her food, its upper and lower part, what its balley includes of epigastriums” its head of eye and ear you will be full of amazement at its creation and feel tired of its description…

So look at the sun and the moon… the burst out of these seas and the plentiness of these mountains, the length of these deserts and the diversity of these languages and tongues.

So woe to whom he denies the predeterminer and rejects the designer, they alleged that they are like plants without a planter and there is no maker for their different images while they didn’t give any proof of what they claimed and no inspection in what they adopt…

“And can there be a building without a builder or a crime without a criminal!” [^49]

From another side the Holy Qur’an draws forth in the minds the motives of sincere and fruitful thinking through what it displays of knowledge, one time it uses the interrogatory question, such as His saying (Be Glorified) “What! Did you then think that we had created you in vain”[^50], and by disavowal of shallow conceptions another time such as His saying (be Glorified) “And we didn’t create the heavens and the earth and what is between them in vain* we didn’t create them both but with the truth but most of them do not know”[^51]

It is known that according to the school of “Ahlilbait” (A.S.) thinking of the kingdom of the heavens and earth is a kind of worship, rather the best degree of worship. Imam Alsaadiq says: “the best worship is the continuous thinking of Allah and His omnipotence”[^52]

The followers of this high school and its disciples were making much of this intellectual worship which plays a very important part in constructing the human being and enables him to reach very high Gnostic degrees. For example most of Abbizar’s (may Allah be mercy with him) worship was thinking and taking lessons, his mother was asked about Abbizar’s worship she said: “During his day time he was thinking away from people” [^53]

It must be known that the general view point about being to which the two “rare things” (Althaqalain) guide –The Qur’an and “Ahlilbait”- is the origin from which all intellectual behavioral view points stem and it is the foundation of the diversion of civilizations and cultures.

Secondly: meditating on the laws of history: the Islamic ideology has called us to ponder on the incidents of history with a shrewd sight, an inspecting intellect in order to discover the reasons which had led societies to destruction, the flourishment or down fall of civilizations, Allah Has said: “indeed there have been examples before you, therefore travel in the earth and see what was the end of the rejecters”[^54]

Allah (be glorified) also said: “Do they don’t consider how many a generation we have destroyed before them, whom we have established in the earth as we haven’t established you and we sent the clouds pouring rain o them in abundance and we made the rivers to flow beneath them, then we destroyed them on account of their faults and we originated after them another generations” [^55]

Allah (be glorified) also said: “And certainly we did destroy generations before you when they were unjust, and their apostles had shown them clear argument and they wouldn’t believe; thus do we recompense the guilty people.” [^56]

It is a call which insists on people to move the wheel of their minds, to look in the history of their ancestors least they become like strayed herd that moves without a shepherd towards the unknown, it is a call with a drawn procedure in order to benefit from the practices of previous civilizations and to study the reasons of their down fall,

especially that history repeat its courses, Allah (be glorified) Has said: “Such has been the course of Allah with respect to those who have gone before and you shall not find any change in the course of Allah” [^57]we have to state here that,

“The role of religion and its responsibility in Man’s life is to create the environment of appropriateness and harmony between Man’s thinking and behavior with the courses of Allah (i- e the laws Allah Has set in this universe to move with their course) and to direct the run of Man’s life to the current of these divine course which Allah Has set as an order for his creatures and creating in this universe.” [^58]

So religion directs Man’s thinking towards the deep aimful look. Certainly there is a big difference between the superficial unsophisticated look to life and history and the deep examining look which is not satisfied with noticing the thing or the incident but it penetrates into its depths and observes its necessities and evidences in order to deduce the historical law which is applied to it, for example a tourist may pass through the pyramids of Egypt so he feels astonished at the marvelousness of its construction, and its highness and enjoys the beauty of its outer appearance and every thing ends.

As to the conscious thinker who is armed with belief, when he passes through the pyramids so many questions rise into his mind: about Man’s abilities, the injustice which was prevailing during those days through the phyrons’ exploitation of a great number of people to work in building these pyramids and what they had suffered of tiredness, weariness and chastisements. He also deduced the phyroon’s wrong concept of death and resurrection. Rather the believer, after having those pieces of knowledge deduces the beneficent lesson as he looks to their wreckages so he wonders where are their inhabitants and what was their fate?!

Therefore Ahlilbait (A.S.) draw the attention to the importance of the aware note and the deep look which is not restricted to the external matters it penetrates through the depths and sizes the dimensions they include as well as and implicational or correlative significances.

It is narrated from Alhassan Alsaiqal that he said: I said to Abi abdulah (A.S.): thinking for an hour is better than worshipping for a night? He said: Yes, the prophet (S.W.A.) said: thinking for an hour is better than worshipping for a night.”[^59]

When Ameeralmu’amineen passed by the ruins of Almadaaen he gave his companions a lesson about the example of history in which, he (A.S.) said: those people had been heirs then they became testators, those people violated the immunities of Allah so they had been afflicted with His revenge, so do not violate Allah’s immunities so that you suffer His vengances” [^60]

And He (A.S.) said: So take lesson from what the previous arrogant nations afflicted with of Allah’s agony, assaults, combats and examples..”[^61]

Imam Ali (A.S.) went farther than that when he pointed out that the historic law is applied to all people, in every time and place and that it is not restricted to destroying infidels and the arrogant, rather it is applied to believers too, if they do not adhere-practically- to the Devin procedure in life and when they deviate from the right path when they disagree and dispute and controvers. In this concern he says:

“And reflect on the circumstances of the believers before you how were they in the state of examination and misfortune…so look in their circumstances when their wishes were unified and had the same aims; so look then their last circumstances when disagreement and dispute took place their wishes and hearts changed, they disputed and conflicted making war against one another, Allah has taken the cloth of His honor out of them and deprived them of His benevolence, there remains with you the stories of their narrations as lessons to their seekers”[^62]

Some of his golden will to his son AlHassan (A.S.) in which he urges him on thinking of the circumstances of ancient nations which is called today “the philosophy of history” it is stated: “O my son’ although I haven’t lived as long as those before me had lived, I pondered on their actions, thought of their narrations, walked in their ruins till I have become one of them rather I have become –because of what I knew of them…as if I lived with their first till their last…” [^63]

Thirdly: Thinking about the wisdom of the legislation:

The aim of that is to affirm Moslem’s certainty of his legislation, its rightness and stating its applicability to every time and place in order that the clouds of suspicions, aroused by the enemy of Islam, fade away. If some of Islamic legislations are obligatory which call the Moslem to submit to them, and there is no benefit from pondering on them such as the worshipping matters; yet there are some legislations in Islam which have social dimensions, and the Qur’an has revealed to us the concealed wisdom of their legislations as there is social benefits related to the individual and the society as well such as His saying (be exalted): “And there is life for you in the law of retaliation, o men of understanding that you may guard yourselves.” [^64]

And His saying (be exalted) ‘Allah doesn’t want to put on you any difficulty, but He wishes to purify you and that He may complete His favor on you” [^65]

The “Sunnah” also has uncovered so may sides of the wisdom of the legislation. For example, Imam Ali Ibna Moussa Alrezza (A.S.) wrote to Mohammad Ibna Sinaan answering some of his questions: “Allah Has prohibited killing the human being because it leads to corruption and perhaps their extinction and chaos of order…Allah Has prohibited adultery because it leads to many kinds of corruption such as killing others and intermixing of peoples’ decendence, leaving children without bringing –up, the corruption of heritage …and other sides of corruption like these” [^66]

Fourthly: directing the mind to consider, to be deliberate in one’s opinion and to be independent in thinking and determination:

The Prophet of Allah (S.W.A) said:

“Don’t be blind imitators who say: when people do good we do good and when people oppress we do so but strive to do good when people do good and not to oppress when people do so” [^67]

Allah Has said: “Do they not then reflect on the Qur’an? Nay there are locks on their hearts.” [^68]

Here is a serious call to consider and think by first disapproving those shallow -minded, absent –minded, and stubborn people firstly, then secondly through severe scolding of those kinds of people.

Allah Has also said: “Say: Bring your proof if you are truthful” [^69]

So there is no value of a claim without a proof, and if Al-Zamakhsharri had seen in that text the most destructive call for the course of imitators”. [^70]It has what is more than that for the (word) maybe directed to those accustomed to imitations but this Qur’anic verses is applicable to the whole of human thinking with all of its parts and sides, as thinkers may fall in- and so often they had fallen in- serious errors because of their dependence on some general concepts which they thought to be axioms that do not need a proof while they had been no more than imaginations emanated from fantasies or falling short of mind.

This happens so many times with the errors of disputants, rather it sometimes happens with those engaged with practical sciences when they consider some deductions to be scientific affirmed laws while they are deductions based on incomplete notices.

Hence we feel a wider range of the Qur’anic call to advance the complete proof for every concept and case weather they are in the mental or practical sciences.

It is doubtless that the field of thinking and contempt acting is as wide as the wideness of knowledge and attitudes, and here we state two important effects:

One of them is general such as the generality of the mentioned Qur’anic text: although it aimed generally at the imitative mind like the people who are dominated with imitation in their faiths and attitudes.

The second effect, which was seen as a special kind of imitation, is the blind imitation of some people, who have gained an affirmed high positions in peoples’ hearts, whereas the role of mind and its function in thinking, viewing and criticism has vanished, as if those people had become in them-selves the measure for right, so it is not right to weight their speeches and actions or to be subjected to judgment and criticism.

This kind of imitation which had been and still the source of so many kinds of dangers in beliefs and attitudes… Ameeralmu’amineen uncovered the secret of the error in this imitation and showed the right way to learn knowledge, this happened when some people were astonitioned at seeing Talha, Zubair and A’aisha standing in one line against Ameeral mu’amineen, so he denied that people like those agree on some thing wrong,

so he mentioned that to Ameeralmu’amineen (A.S.), and he (A.S.) replied beginning his answer with the source of false imagination then shifting to give him the right method in knowledge, he (A.S.) said: “You are deceived, Allah’s religion is not known by men, rather by the evidence of rightness: so do know the right then you know its followers” [^71]

Fifthly: directing Man to attain science and knowledge:

It is indisputable that the Islamic religion urges on attaining science and knowledge. He who contemplates on the verses Qur’an finds that repeated clearly or by hint: “Say are those who know and those who do not know alike?

Only the men of understanding are mindful”[^72].

“Allah will exalt those of you who believe, and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees, and Allah is aware of what you do”[^73]

“Say: O my Lord’ increase me in knowledge” [^74]

“Those of His servants only who are possessed of knowledge” [^75]

because of the importance of knowledge Allah Has taken the covenant of “Ahlilkitaab” to reveal it to people and not to monopolize it: “Allah Has made a covenant with those who were given the Book you should certainly made it known to people and don’t hide it” [^76]

After the verses of Qur’an there come the “hadeeths” of the prophet (S.W.A.) and his purified progeny (A.S.) as they lead to this direction, and state that knowledge is the pillar of religion and the life of Islam is in it.

They prompt to gain it, uncover its merit, so the ink of scholar is superior to the blood of martyrs, and the superiority of a scholar to a worshiper is such as the superiority of the moon to other stars. In this concern the prophet (S.W.A.) says:

“Seeking knowledge is prior-with Allah- to prayer fasting “hajj” and striving in the path of Allah” [^77]

it is enough to quote Ameeralmu’amineen’s (A.S.) saying:

“The value of every person is what good he does”[^78]; it gives evidence to Ahlilbait’s prompt to get science and knowledge.

Look closely at the excellent comparison which Imam Ali (A.S.) made for Kumail Ibn Zeyaad Alnekhaei about the superiority of knowledge to funds and money He (A.S.) says: “O Kumail’ knowledge is better than funds, knowledge guards you while you guard funds and money becomes less when you spend it while knowledge flourishes when you spend it and the favor done by wealth vanishes with its vanishing.

O Kumail bin Zeyaad’ attaining knowledge is a religion followed, with it one can achieve the course of Allah’s obedience in his life, and the good remembrance after his demise, knowledge is a governor while money is governed.

O Kumail, the treasurers of funds perished while they are alive, while Scholars are alive as long as there is time, their bodies are absent and their statues in the hearts are present.”[^79]

Because of this rich epistemic sustenance the Moslem set off, being released from the shackles of ignorance and retardation, to the wide horizons of knowledge so he began to contemplate the universal phenomenon discover the secrets of nature through the empirical manner to which his ideology had directed; and this is the procedure on which modern science has been built.

Gebb says in his book “The modern directions in Islam”: “I think that it is agreed on that the detailed precise observation which Moslem researchers practiced had helped to achieve the scientific development in the material field, and that through these notices the empirical procedure had reached Europe in the middle ages” [^80]

Man has the right to be astonished at the greatness of the Islamic ideology which had brought in that civilizational revolution in the souls of the desert inhabitants till they have become the pioneers of the whole world in science and knowledge and other sides of civilization and culture.